Declaration: All Content is Created Equal! (well, not really…)

Part 2 – Not All Content is Created Equal

Content repurposed courtesy of Lingotek,

In part 1 of this 5-part series we explored how the traditional translation model is broken when applied to today’s socially-driven websites that have large amounts of content being generated on a daily or weekly basis. Today we’ll explore the difference in types of content and how this influences translation projects.

Classifying content value
With today’s web technologies content is constantly being generated not just by companies, but by their communities. Blogs, forums, comments, tweets, and a myriad of social-networking technologies all contribute to the generation of massive amounts of content. Yet, not all this content holds equal value.

One way the value of content varies is based on the medium. For example, content generated by a company that has been well-written and properly edited holds much value because it communicates well-thought-out, concise information. In contrast a quick post on a forum or blog may be sloppily written or hold substantially less value.

The value of content varies inside a medium as well. A blog post that summarizes a large volume of information could prove very valuable while another blog post may hold drawn-out ramblings with little direction or value. The problem is further aggravated by the fact that value shifts depending on the context and community.

The Content Value Index
Lingotek has developed what we call the Content Value Index (CVI) to help determine the value of content and the most effective channel for its translation. Let’s look at it more closely.

The first level in the CVI is for low-value content. This could consist of things like comments, forum posts and some blog posts. For this low-value content, users mostly desire simply a gist of what is being said. In this case, a computer-generated translation would be sufficient to provide a basic gist and could be delivered instantly with no incremental cost.

The second level in the CVI is for medium-value content. This represents some blogs posts, some forum entries, and wikis. Users want to get more than just a gist of medium-value content and desire a full translation by a real person. However, it may be overkill to invoke the time and cost of a traditional translator. Instead, the community may volunteer to translate this content.

The third and final level in the CVI is for high-value content. High-value content usually consists of professionally-written articles and content, some well-written blog posts, and even select forum threads. Users want to ensure they are reading the highest-quality translation of this content and may want to flag it for professional translation.\

Use the right tool for the job
Rather than using exclusively traditional methods for translating the different types of content, use the right tool for the job. There’s no need to use a pneumatic nail gun when a simple hammer will work to take care of a single nail. Similarly you can translate low-value content using computer translations, medium-value content using your community, and only the high-value content using a traditional translator. Many companies will discover that they have relatively little content that needs to be translated professionally and the rest can be translated using other channels thus saving a tremendous amount of time and money.

In part 3 we will discuss how you can leverage other channels, primarily your community, to translate content in an efficient manner